150 Years of Saving Horses!

150 Years of Saving Horses!

The nonprofit Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals has been a leading voice for the voiceless since 1872.

Follow the MSSPA’s trail of success stories.


Julia Clapp Carroll spearheads a campaign to protect the horses that pull Portland’s streetcars and fire engines, culminating in the founding of the Portland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on May 22. Overshadowed by prominent men who served on the board, Carroll’s role is largely obscured until it’s rediscovered in the 21st century.


The Portland SPCA merges with the Maine SPCA to form the MSSPA.

Early 1900s

The MSSPA advocated for the welfare of animals in a variety of ways, including the humane treatment of livestock transported on railroads. The Society was instrumental in the passing of legislation regarding the treatment of animals on film sets, in roadside stands, and in zoos. The MSSPA also worked to ensure that Maine’s schools teach the compassionate treatment of animals.


The organization relocates from Portland to a state-owned farm on River Road in Windham.


Lawrence Keddy purchases the 124-acre River Road farm for fair market value and donates the land to the MSSPA, ensuring a safe haven for horses and a lifelong home for those equines that do not find an adoptive home.


Marilyn Goodreau becomes president of the MSSPA after serving as the Society’s farm manager since the 1970s.


The MSSPA’s volunteer program is launched. It now has nearly 200 active participants.

Meris Bickford becomes the Society’s first CEO.


A new indoor training facility with a visitor’s center is built at the River Road farm.

The MSSPA partners with the Southern Maine Women’s Reentry Center to help residents heal through their work with horses that, like them, need a second chance.


The number of horses sheltered at the farm nearly doubles on a single July day, when a herd of 20 arrives in urgent need of care.

A record 27 horses were adopted to loving families.

2022 and Beyond

Your continued financial support helps ensure that the MSSPA continues saving horses for the next 150 years. Thank you!